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Old Season - Epic, Doom-laden, Irish Heavy Metal (Ciaran O'Neill) - Online Jul. 2005


I found when reviewing "Volume 1" that I was quite inept at finding the correct description for your music, as I generally stick as close to Black Metal as I can. Tell me then in your own words how you would describe the OLD SEASON sound?

…Well I think it is generally difficult to pinpoint the OLD SEASON sound as we try to blend a lot of mood, feeling and passion into our music and it isn’t instantly assignable to any genre of Metal really. However, the basis of our music comes from Epic Doom and Traditional Heavy Metal, both of which we all love - so in reality we like to play exactly the type of music we like to listen to. I guess that is a pretty brief description of things but for me anyway these styles are what I hold most dear and I find them musically the perfect way in which to express myself. We have a real passion for our music and for this style of music, and I’d like to think this passion pours through in our music. We are also inspired by many things aside from music directly like mythology, literature, Irish heritage, Pagan philosophy and so on, so I think these things too have a great influence on and help to mould our sound. On flyers and posters for gigs etc. we usually describe ourselves as Epic, Doom-laden, Irish Heavy Metal which I think describes us well.

 

OLD SEASON basically grew out of the ashes of KARNAYNA, whom any reader that has a copy of Sentinel Records' "In Unison" compilation will be familiar with. Why did KARNAYNA call it a day and how did OLD SEASON come about?

Well KARNAYNA never actually called it a day so OLD SEASON didn’t really grow out of the ashes of KARNAYNA, we just had a few line-up changes and in the end thought it best to continue under the banner of OLD SEASON, which is the name of one of the very first songs we wrote and is still played by us today. I think OLD SEASON represents us in a much more mature manner, but our years as KARNAYNA are definitely relevant to us now as the songs on the CD, and most of the material we play live nowadays, comes from that era, but we are definitely a much more confident, capable and mature band nowadays.

 

The biggest change in the bands is seemingly the replacement of one MOURNING BELOVETH member with another. Frank's soaring clean vocals have added new depths to the OLD SEASON sound that Darren was unable to do. How has this affected the overall tone of the band as, to my ears, there seems to be a much stronger tendency towards more European melodies and classic Heavy Metal anthems rather than a more straight forward Doomy approach?

I think that may be a little harsh on Darren to be honest as he is a great vocalist and brought a lot to our music. I think his vocals on “A Murderous Circus” prove that and his versatility is lot more prevalent there than it has been in the past. I certainly have never had any doubts as to his vocal ability, but definitely Frank does bring a different dimension and a greater depth to our sound and he really does have an amazing voice so it is great now that OLD SEASON is another way for him to use that voice. Many people have commented too there is lot more of a classic Heavy Metal feel to our music now but I think it was always there but was a lot harder for us to bring this across with just the one guitar player and the heavier vocals. All the songs on the CD were originally KARNAYNA numbers and were never really re-arranged but definitely Frank’s voice and the addition of Jimmy on guitar have made the Heavy Metal feel become a lot more prominent. Previously, with one guitar player it was hard for us to bring a lot of the melodies across into our shows and now it’s great that we can; Jim is excellent - his understanding of the music was there from the start and he has now started writing with us too so I’m very excited to hear the outcome of some of our newer songs.

 

As much as I can I do my best with reviews and interviews to plug as many Irish bands as I deem deserving. Who do you think are worth listening to from here? Who has the potential to move away from the local scene and into the global?

Well I think the scene here has been brewing away here for years and now things seem finally set to take off a bit better. There really are a lot of great bands here but the ones I really think capable of greatness and that are capable of achieving it would be FALLEN, MASS EXTINCTION, STEEL TORMENTOR and WRECK OF THE HESPERUS. There are a lot of bands on the fringes too but these bands, while some of them are not trying to be overtly original, are all achieving a certain level of innovativeness within the Irish scene and if allowed to develop properly have every chance of really making their mark on the worldwide Metal scene too. We of course already have some great bands firmly established on the international scene such as MOURNING BELOVETH, PRIMORDIAL, CRUACHAN, WAYLANDER etc. and hopefully a few more can join these in the coming years.

 

With OLD SEASON's sound the references I was able to draw upon were all older and more classic bands like MANOWAR and CANDLEMASS. Do you feel that today's Metal scene in general is much more stagnant and has less to offer than the glory days of yore?

No actually, to the contrary I think today’s Metal scene probably has a lot more to offer in a way as there are all the classic bands of yesteryear anyway and, although not all the greats are still together, their music is readily available if one wants to find out about them. There is also a wealth of great underground bands operating all over the world who are creating some truly great Metal, I believe. With the internet and such it’s not that difficult nowadays to find out about things that may be happening on the other side of the world, which is great. There is one thing I think is lacking these days, though, and that’s the great Heavy Metal concerts of old; ear-splitting volumes, insane pyrotechnics and wild theatrics now seem to be pretty much a thing of the past as so many bands nowadays fail to make that leap up into filling the bigger venues but hopefully in the future we’ll see a return to some of these amazing concerts and people will be allowed to feel the real power of Metal once again.

 

Tell me then, who are the more recent bands that you've discovered with the quality for true lasting greatness?

There are many bands I’m a fan of whose music I believe is truly great and most definitely has the quality for true lasting greatness, SLOUGH FEG for example have proven this themselves with several quality albums behind them and their live shows truly are a marvel. DOOMSWORD is another band I’d like to mention as I also believe them to have created some really great and inspiring Heavy Metal in recent years, AIRGED LÁMH from Greece are a relatively new band to the international scene too and I think in the years to come they will too be remembered as a truly great Heavy Metal band, they’ve only one full-length out as of yet but it is definitely a masterpiece and I hope the success I feel they deserve comes to them… I also believe that SKYFORGER - another great band we’ve had the pleasure of playing with recently - deserve further recognition beyond their own shores. The performances they put in during their Irish tour are still being talked about now.

 

It has been remarked to me that if you, OLD SEASON, took two years off work and concentrated solely on the band that global success and critical acclaim would be a virtual certainty. Do you feel that because Metal in general is "underground" in nature that this holds back true talent from being able to fully realise its potential?

I’m happy enough with the way things are for us at the moment, obviously enough a lot could improve but we are striving all the time to make things improve and further the band and I believe things are progressing very well for us. As regards talent not being able to realise its full potential – yeah, I agree, but I don’t think talent should really be measured by success either.

One way of looking at things is that lack of commercial success is what characterises something as being underground anyway, and it is true that underground constraints can lead to great talent being overlooked and underdeveloped, but the underground can also be a great haven for talent to develop on its own and the underground has certainly been the breeding ground for most of my favourite musicians. So much of the music I hold most dear to me would be classified as being underground…

 

With regards to band members pouring work into OLD SEASON one would assume that its not easy, with Frank having to divide his time between two bands and other, more immediate, issues. Do you however have any plans for any foreign gigs to promote the demo further afield?

It is not so much of a problem Frank being in two bands for us and actually sometimes it can be a good thing. We are all friends between the two bands and share rehearsal space too, obviously enough we have our problems from time to time and things can become strained sometimes, but we’ve never had any major difficulties and I don’t see there being many in the future as long as both bands try to work together and cross-communicate as much as possible so that things run smoothly - then all should be fine. We have had a few offers to go foreign and play but the time has not yet been right. I would say, though, that we’ll start touring foreign lands before the end of this year. We would love to go and play in Greece as we get so many people from there enquiring about the band and the passion they display for Heavy Metal is something we really want to experience…

 

OLD SEASON live is always an entertaining prospect as you are able to create one of the most enjoyable, yet melancholic, atmospheres I've ever encountered. Frank's theatrics and the general ballad v bubbly nature of your epic tracks are perfectly suited to this environment. How important then is gigging to you and do you feel that it is enough to simply play good music or should a band strive to put on a "show" for the audience?

Getting out playing, as I’m sure you know Niall, is very important to us. We try to play live as often as possible and put as much passion and power into the shows as we can which I hope comes across well. It is difficult at the moment for us to put on a ‘show’ as such but definitely in the future we want to make the OLD SEASON experience much more than an average gig. How we’ll do this is hard to say and really depends a lot on how things take off after the release of the new CD but hopefully we’ll be able to put a lot more theatrics and pyrotechnics etc. into our show in the future.

 

Well I'm useless at interviews so I'll leave it here, say thanks for your time and allow you to use this last bit to plug the band in any way you see fit...

Well Niall, I’d firstly like to thank you for this interview, your support and help is, as always much appreciated. Secondly I’d like to urge all readers of “The Metal Observer” who have a passion for Heavy Metal, especially that of the Epic and Doomy variety, to check out some of our music. Our new CD “Volume One…” will be released officially on July 25th by Alderwood Records and will be available directly from us too. Our website address is www.oldseason.com and there can be found some MP3s so people can give us a listen; please also feel free to leave a message on our guestbook or contact us directly if you feel the need. The contact email is info@oldseason.com

Again massive Hails for all your help and I wish for a bright future for yourself and “The Metal Observer”… The CD is priced at 13 Euro including postage worldwide and is available from:

Old Season

98 Lakelands

Naas

Co. Kildare

Ireland

Discography:

2005: Volume One (CD, Self-production)

Niall Kennedy



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